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Ganavya Doraiswamy

Vocalist, scholar, and composer Ganavya has carved a niche for herself at the nexus of South Indian vocal styles and contemporary music. Her own debut album, Aikyam: Onnu, (”Harmony: One”) features the incredible breadth of her character: it draws from an amalgam of ancient Indian spirituals she learnt during pilgrimages as a child, with an anchor in jazz standards that she has translated to Tamil from English, showcasing a linguistic command over her two mother-tongues.

She holds degrees in theatre and psychology (FIU), and graduate degrees in contemporary performance (Berklee College of Music), and ethnomusicology (UCLA). She was awarded one of Berklee's first Post-Graduate Fellowships, for which she constructed a course titled Sounds of Indian Music, and published a text under the same name for the course. Currently, she is a doctoral student at Harvard's newly developed Creative Practice and Critical Inquiry program.

She has learnt from, or performed and recorded with: Danilo Perez, Placido Domingo, James Newton, Victor Wooten, Wadada Leo Smith, Alain Perez, Perico Sambeat, Vijay Iyer, Zakir Hussain, Laura Karpman, Polo Orti, Victor Mendoza, Sandra Carrasco, Javier Limón, Ousso Lotfy, Tyshawn Sorey, Claire Chase, and Zebbler Encanti Experience, among other artists who have influenced her work. Recently, she sang on the Quincy Jones-produced Tocororo, which hit #1 on jazz charts.

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”Ganavya creates a lush twine out of American and South Asian traditions, and on “Aikyam: Onnu,” this vocalist and scholar’s majestic debut album, the upshot feels more like an expansive invitation than any definable hybrid. Ganavya has populated jazz standards with lyrics from Tamil poetry and songs of anticolonial resistance . . . No matter the language or the content, Ganavya’s voice is a thick ephemera, like smoke as dark as ink, just coming off the fire.”

—New York Times

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